You Can't Ask or Tell ... But You Can Sue and Win

09/27/2010

On September 24, 2010, a federal judge ruled that Margaret Witt's discharge under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was improper and she must be reinstated. 

According to the federal judge’s opinion, to discharge Ms. Witt, the military must prove (1) that the discharge advances an important governmental interest, (2) the intrusion significantly furthers that interest, and (3) the intrusion is necessary to further that interest."

Basically, the military has to prove how Margaret Witt's sexual orientation negatively impacted the military.  Apparently, evidence was presented that Ms. Witt was a stellar officer and her sexual orientation did not hurt the military.  To the contrary, the evidence appeared to support the proposition that her discharge itself hurt the military.

The judge stated:

"The men and women of the United States military have over the years demonstrated the ability to accept diverse peoples into their ranks and to treat them with the respect necessary to accomplish the mission, whatever that mission might be. That ability has persistently allowed the armed forces of the United States to be the most professional, dedicated and effective military in the world. The reinstatement of Major Margaret Witt will not erode the proficiency of the United States military."

The judge further stated:

"For the reasons expressed, the Court concludes that DADT, when applied to Major Margaret Witt, does not further the government’s interest in promoting military readiness, unit morale and cohesion... Application of DADT therefore violates Major Witt’s substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. She should be reinstated at the earliest possible moment."